Genting’s Palm Beach Casino has led a fundraising campaign to buy a motorised wheelchair for a youngster, described as ‘life-changing’ by his family.
More than £35,000 has been raised over three years, with Brentwood Hard Court Tennis Club hosting the third annual fundraising tennis tournament, The O’Regan Cup, and donations also coming from the casino’s staff, family, friends and customers.
Archie Ripley, 12, from Ashford, Kent, who has congenital myopathy, a form of muscular dystrophy, and chromosome imbalance, was one of several young people to benefit from the generosity of donors, receiving a £9,000 motorised wheelchair.
Previously, Archie used a manual wheelchair provided by the NHS, but he did not qualify for a motorised wheelchair. He was unable to self-propel himself into an optimal seating position for more than about 10 minutes, which was affecting his emotional wellbeing. It was hard for him to go out on family trips, making life difficult for his mother, who also cares for Archie’s two sisters, who have disabilities.
The donation was made through CHIPS, the casino industry’s charity, which uses its funds to provide mobility and independence for young people throughout the UK who are unable to obtain a powered wheelchair from the NHS and Wheelchair Services and whose parents cannot afford to fund the chairs themselves. Every chair is constructed for the needs of the individual child.
Sam, Archie’s mother, said:
“The impact the chair has had is absolutely unmeasurable. As a family we have been able to enjoy trips to Disney, theme parks and family walks that would have been impossible before, it’s life changing. Archie’s self-esteem has totally lifted and he now has an unstoppable attitude where nothing is a barrier to him anymore. Archie’s energy levels have increased, he is less fatigued and able to do more things independently. He now plays with other children from the village and is more included within his peer group”.
Andrew Henderson, Genting’s director of operations for London and the South, said:
“We are delighted to have been able to support Archie and his family, thanks to all those who helped raise funds and to host the tennis tournament. A powered wheelchair makes a huge difference for a disabled child, giving them independence and mobility, and it was lovely to see how much it means to his whole family”.